There are times when it seems like the only thing that matters is what takes place between the whistles. Wednesday’s soccer matches were a perfect reminder of the gravity of what takes place outside the field of play.
The Bryant & Stratton College men’s and women’s soccer teams wore purple wristbands in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month while devoting the games to a survivor of domestic violence, Anne Kilduff.
Kilduff, a Bryant & Stratton College student, decided to start a new life at age 58. After an abusive relationship of 27 years, she wanted to start fresh. One of her first steps was to enroll at Bryant & Stratton College to pursue a degree in human resources. Just two years and a 4.0 GPA later, Kilduff crossed the stage as a Bryant & Stratton College graduate with an associate degree in human resources.
She didn’t stop after reaching that goal, either. She’s already well on her way to completing her bachelor’s degree and reaching yet another remarkable achievement.
“Anne bravely shared her story with us months ago and her inspiration has stuck with us,” said marketing director Maria Scalise. “We are so proud of Anne and admire her for all she’s accomplished.”
The purple wristbands worn by each Bobcats team were a small token of acknowledgement for the strength and perseverance Kilduff has shown. A fact that wasn’t lost on the teams.
“It was an honor to draw attention to domestic violence and Anne’s personal struggles,” said men’s head coach Nick Dimitrevski. “We cannot be silent as a community, college or team to the issues of humanity.”
Dimitrevski noted that his team came out harder than usual in the opening minutes of their match against their in-state siblings from Bryant & Stratton College – Albany. His side would cruise to a 7-0 victory and extend their record to 8-0-2 on the season.
The women’s side enjoyed a big victory as well, triumphing 6-0 over the Albany campus. The win pushed the women’s record to 12-0 on the season. Though both victories were substantial – and should play a role in keeping the women’s side #1 in the nation while helping the men’s team push for that same #1 ranking in the USCAA coach’s poll – the play on the field took a backseat to the larger message of the day.
Domestic violence is an issue that warrants more support and attention that it currently receives. And despite some of the greatest adversity, individuals can triumph and reach their goals.
“These activities are priceless for the community and our students in order to raise awareness of domestic violence,” said women’s soccer coach Alex Grigorita. “The players enjoyed providing support to the cause and the players felt honored to wear the purple bands during the game. We need more activities like this one to promote awareness on other issues that take place in the community.”
Things on the field will go back to normal as the men’s and women’s teams play their final regular season games this month. But for one day, the Bobcats soccer program was part of something bigger.
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